This podcast episode features a conversation between Alex Greene and Christine Varnavas, author of the book "Heal Your Sh!t Find Your Happy." They discuss Christine's journey of healing from childhood trauma through various somatic practices like exercise, yoga, laughter, and TRE (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises). The overarching theme is how embodiment practices and understanding the nervous system can help break cycles of generational trauma by cultivating self-love.
The Magic of Movement
Christine shares how first discovering aerobics classes as a college student was hugely transformative. She saw women smiling, laughing, and moving to music. This was the first time she felt good in her body. Exercise became like medicine - it lifted her mood, reduced anxiety, and brought her out of a habitual freeze response. She became "addicted" to moving her body.
Yoga - The Missing Piece
Over time, Christine's body got cranky from only doing intense exercise. Yoga became the yin to that yang. It taught her to sit still with herself, which she had never done before. Yoga connected her to the mind-body piece that had been missing. In addition to movement practices, Christine shares how laughter has been hugely healing. It just feels good. Smiling and laughter tap into our social engagement system and lift mood instantly.
Christine shares how discovering TRE was an absolute game-changer. It helped her get to core issues that other practices couldn't access. She uses the iceberg analogy - with exercise, yoga, and laughter being the tip, but TRE accessing the submerged core. Beyond the physical release, the TRE framework helped her understand her nervous system.
Healing = Feeling
Christine shares that allowing herself to feel and release emotions through crying has been huge. She says healing requires feeling your feelings. Women often aren't taught to care for themselves on this deeper emotional level.
Healing is a personal journey, a process that requires patience and the willingness to confront our fears and insecurities. Christine’s story serves as a testament to this transformative power of healing, leading her towards happiness and self-love.
The Role of Mentors
Throughout her journey, Christine acknowledges the role of her mentors and colleagues who nudged her in the right direction. They served as catalysts, igniting her desire for self-transformation and guiding her towards the path of love and happiness.
A major theme is breaking cycles of generational trauma by doing your own healing work. Christine shares how her daughters directly experienced her own dysregulated nervous system. By learning to care for her nervous system, she can avoid passing down trauma implicitly. She also makes the point that we inherit certain gene expressions, but we can alter the picture through our lifestyle and by processing old trauma held in the body.
The conversation explores how various practices like yoga, exercise, and TRE have contributed to Christine's healing journey. The overarching message is that by learning to care for your nervous system and process old trauma, you can come into a sense of self-love. And self-love radiates outward, impacting those around you. This creates a legacy of love rather than one of fear or trauma. Healing starts with the self, but ripples outwards.
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